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How to Deal with Incontinence During Pregnancy

What, Why and How to Deal With It


According to the Official American Urological Foundation, a quarter to a third of Americans suffer from urinary incontinence. More than half of incontinence sufferers are women. This is because pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can seriously affect the female urinary and gastrointestinal tract. Pregnancy and childbirth can injure or weaken the muscular structure that supports the bladder and rectum. Pregnant women can have light, moderate to severe incontinence symptoms. In any case, it’s very common.


According to the National Association for Continence, 63 percent of women with leakage attest their symptoms began during or after pregnancy. A case study was done by the National Association for Continence on 500 different very healthy pregnant women. Every single woman in the study experienced Incontinence at one point in their pregnancy. Urological Researchers have even gone so far to say that virtually all pregnant women have experienced some form of leakage. Post-pregnancy Urinary Incontinence is almost just as common as leakage during pregnancy. Those who experienced leakage during their pregnancy are more likely to continue having Incontinence post-pregnancy.


With urinary incontinence, the female urinary tract is made up of the pelvic floor muscles, the vagina, and other ligaments support your bladder. Pregnancy and childbirth can put major pressure on these support systems.


When urinating, the muscles in the wall of your bladder contract. This forces urine out of the bladder and through the urethra. The urinary sphincter relaxes and lets the urine pass through the body. Urinary Incontinence occurs when your bladder muscles suddenly contract or the urinary sphincter is not strong enough to hold in the urine.


With these weakened facilities, your bladder can be pushed downward toward the vagina. This is called vaginal prolapse, which is one type of pelvic organ prolapse. Again, vaginal prolapse is when your bladder, urethra or rectum slide into the vagina, could increase the risk of acquiring Stress Incontinence. Vaginal prolapse keeps the sphincter and other muscles from contracting, and as a result, you may experience leakage during moments of stress. Moment of stress on the abdomen include laughing, sneezing, and coughing. This is what makes Stress Urinary Incontinence the most common form of Urinary Incontinence in women.


Overactive Bladder is also another common form of Urinary Incontinence found in pregnant women. Overactive Bladder happens when defective nerves inaccurate signals to the bladder, causing its muscles to suddenly squeeze. This could happen several times throughout the day, causing women to frequently urinate. This can happen when there is a significant amount of urine in the bladder, or none at all. Overactive Bladder can be caused by childbirth or pregnancy because sometimes these nerves are damaged during these experiences.


Fecal Incontinence can also occur during and after pregnancy, due to nerve damage, constipation and rectal prolapse. Chronic constipation can stretch and weaken the pelvic floor and rectal muscles. If a mass of dry, hard stool is formed in the rectum, watery stool to move around the mass and leak out. Rectal prolapse, where the rectum slides down into the anus can also cause Fecal Incontinence. Rectal prolapse keeps the anal sphincter and other pelvic floor muscles from contracting. As a result you may experience fecal leakage. Rectal prolapse can happen after vaginal delivery, or during pregnancy.


Generally leakage is caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles, but there are plenty of treatments to help you deal with these symptoms. Many pregnant women find their leakage to be relatively light, so they use liners or absorbent pads. The brand Poise is incredibly popular among pregnant and post-pregnant woman. But there are plenty of other trustable brands too like Tena, and Prevail. You might be familiar with the Prevail brand, they are also carrier of Kotex. If your incontinence is more severe, these brands also carry very discreet adult briefs that allow you to live an active lifestyle without worry of leakage.


Talk to your doctor about the many other treatments available, and they can address your specific case with care. For example, kegel training seems to be very effective. This addresses both fecal and urinary incontinence. It involves the practice of squeezing the sphincter, and you can do it anywhere! Other surgeries and behavioral changes can help your leakage symptoms as well.


With medical treatment and an absorbent liner or brief, you can do everything you used to do before your leakage troubles. You just have take a couple extra steps. Otherwise you’ll be able to travel with your incontinence, hang out around public places without worry of embarrassment and even enjoy sex. Incontinence with pregnancy is so common and not enough people talk about it. Discussing your issues with other women will make every pregnant and post pregnant woman realize they are not alone! Even the media is beginning to address pregnancy related leakage. Famous celebrities like Katy Perry, Kris Jenner, and Sheryl Underwood are becoming more open about their leakage. By knowing this is a common symptom with pregnancy, and women in general, you should feel relief. And why not make it more casual by discussing it with other.


Discussion is therapeutic, and puts your mind at ease, as there is nothing to be ashamed of. Women should not feel shame for this symptom, it is a part of life. Women are the vessels of life, and these are some of the outcomes that come with the life changing experience of pregnancy. 

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